Imelda Marcos sentenced to prison for corruption
MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine court on Friday sentenced Imelda Marcos, the country’s flamboyant former first lady, to a minimum of 42 years in prison for creating private foundations to hide her unexplained wealth.
But it is unlikely that Marcos, 89, a widow, will see any jail time. The court, which handles graft and public corruption cases, said the ruling could be appealed, and legal experts have said Marcos could fight a prison sentence because of her advanced age.
The sentence comes as Marcos and her family have seen a political resurgence in the Philippines, having gained favor under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.
The court found Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft, with each count punishable by a minimum of six years in prison. The ruling also automatically disqualifies Marcos, who is a congresswoman, from holding any public office.
Imelda Marcos did not appear in court for the sentencing, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. In a statement later Friday, Marcos said her lawyer was studying the ruling and intended to file a motion asking the court to reconsider it.
The lengthy sentence drew praise from some leading opponents of Duterte, who has in the past praised the brutal dictatorship of Marcos’ deceased husband, Ferdinand Marcos.
Loretta Ann Rosales, the country’s former human rights commissioner, who was tortured as an activist in the 1970s for opposing Ferdinand Marcos, called the sentence a symbolic victory for the thousands who died resisting the dictatorship.
“I am literally jumping with joy,” Rosales said in an interview. She said the ruling showed that there were still public corruption judges “who have helped keep the candles lit through these dark nights and pursued the truth.” She said the ruling also proved that the Marcoses and their cronies were guilty of raiding government coffers in order to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.